“As you grow older, you learn a few things. One of them is to actually take the time you’ve allotted for vacation.” ~ John Battelle
My husband and I are about to go on a Christmas vacation to be with my mom, sister and her family. We haven’t spent the Christmas holidays with them for five or six years and we are looking forward to it immensely.
On the other hand, I find myself torn between setting aside all the projects I’ve been working on this fall, and taking work with me. I will keep up my blog posts, but other than that, I’m fighting with myself. Should I take things along so I can work on my books? This dilemma forces me to ask myself, why am I having such a hard time unplugging?
I’m a bit sad to say that since I retired from full-time teaching eleven years ago, I’ve gotten into the habit of doing some amount of work on my creative projects every single day. When I wake up in the morning, my mind is full of all the things I want to accomplish that day. And just now as I’m about to take a two-and-a-half week vacation, the thought of not working at all leaves me feeling a little bit unmoored.
This feeling is unsettling because I’m a firm believer in taking time to do nothing. In fact, I have a page from one of my Mary Englebreit calendars framed and in plain view in my office that reads, “How beautiful is it to do nothing and then rest afterward.” It’s a Spanish proverb.
Somehow working all the time becomes addictive and it snuck up on me unawares. I’ve got to break the habit. That’s probably why I’ve felt a little stuck on my novel, too many things going on in my head.
Don’t get me wrong, some of the work I’ve been doing is really important. I’m learning vital things that will help me sell my books, and develop my narrating career. But a break from work every so often is something I’ve been neglecting doing.
Getting ready for this vacation, as is usually the case, has been a bit stressful. I’ve just finished my semester of teaching. And though it’s only one class, there are grading and other duties to finish before I can take my month break until the next semester begins. I just finished the work on my friend’s audiobook. It’s in her hands now for final approval. We’re finally signing the contract this weekend before I leave. And there are the tasks I’ve had to suspend while working on the audiobook. A person could go crazy trying to clear the decks so they can relax while on their vacation.
With all that’s been going on this fall, I’ve come to one conclusion. It’s not worth trying to do everything at once. I’m not a good multi-tasker, never have been, never will be. So, these last weeks I chose to concentrate on only one thing at a time, and only do a couple of urgent tasks in one day. Slowly my brain is beginning to unwind. I’m feeling a bit less stressed thank heaven.
We can go a bit crazy this time of year trying to fulfill our expectations of what makes a perfect holiday season. I think I’m just going to enjoy being with distant family laughing and enjoying each other’s company. All the tasks I set for myself will still be here when I get back.
Here’s hoping your end of the year celebrations help you connect with those you love, even if that’s only yourself.
Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it. Next blog post will be from the Seattle area. Have a great weekend.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.